The Singular Ramblings of the Solitary

By John Grey

It’s all I want / a path to reopening/all of it is confusing/revealed at last:
all that I want – dreaming or awake – a plan to ease lockdown –
am lonely / am disappearing / the face in the mirror unrecognizable/
what avenue is this? I lied to the Dentist about that pain in my tooth/
my birthday’s approaching/if I don’t repair the damage my lover won’t speak to me/
retailers and restaurants – please! movie theaters – please- !
full of myself – full of schoolchildren going back to class –
sick of being masked – sick of “Until further notice –
I’ll be old and bald before I next stare in a store window –
my life extends no further than my garage –
I’ve seen sentenced – forever – how many years is that/
be satisfied with my own walls, I’m told – my own ceiling –
I no longer remember what people look like –
reopen my eyes/reopen my mouth/reopen my arms – wide, wider, widest –
are there any more hills? lakes? is there even a planet?
and what is inspiration without public transportation?
surely, mankind can’t be just the one of me –
my mouth, my chest feel so ordinary from afar – but they’re beautiful
when loved directly –
I’d even join the army just to be among people –
or get my hair cut at the local barber
if he’ll just take a razor to his “Closed” sign –
this wasn’t my idea/it’s the government/”Go into your secret cave
until called upon”/until scientists devise a magic potion/
or until my power goes out for good – body and soul.
So give me the test already – ain’t got no chills,
ain’t got no muscle pain/ain’t got no headache/ain’t got no sore throat/
but I got so much to go back to – but what if everything’s gone?
I’m nonessential, that’s what I’m hearing/like Broadway shows/
like cookouts on the beach/or kids in pre-school-
so give me the bleach – I’ll drink it – it’s either that or the Kool-Aid –
this is like World War II but without the shiny tanks and cannon –
and the enemy is as tiny as a senator’s mind –
it’s not my fault that instant annihilation got out into the open –
so let’s all get together and decide who’s fault it is.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple and the MacGuffin.

Personally, the pandemic has been a mixed blessing. I’ve definitely got a lot of writing done but I sure miss traveling and eating at my favorite restaurants. Regarding the poem, unlike my most of my stuff, it was strictly a case of trying to get down in one stream all of the stuff that was popping into my head while confined to the house. 

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Poetry and Covid-19 ARCHIVE (This website archives the over 1000 poems submitted by over 600 poets, and viewed by over 100,000 from over 125 countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, June 2020-June 2021). Thank you to all who took part in the Poetry and Covid project.

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